- Companies hoping to future-proof their business would benefit from fostering a culture of learning.
- Reports have found that companies that effectively nurture their workforce’s desire to learn are at least 30% more likely to be market leaders in their industries.
- Upskilling and re-skilling efforts are now more important than ever as emerging technologies have the capabilities to replace workers in some fields.
Creating a future-fit workforce is in the best interests of employers/companies, and there are a few ways to create this culture of constant learning and upskilling.
Developing a learning culture takes time, but it’s worth the investment.
A learning culture is important because it helps employers and companies capitalize on their employees’ potential to grow the business.
How can a culture of learning begin?
Firstly, employees and employers need to have a growth mindset and understand that you can always be learning.
Fostering a learning culture is essential for growth, as well as building the capability for learners to feel like they can invest in themselves.
It’s important to have conversations with employees about their performance and ask them how they are thinking about upping their skills and their investment in themselves.
Employers can then use all of that learning and capability building to fuel growth and innovation.
There are behaviors and systems that employers need to change and drive that will aid employee engagement, which in turn will lead to increased productivity.
How can employers create a culture of learning?
- Employers need to be learner-obsessed. This really means walking in the customers’ and workers’ shoes.
- Be data informed in the decisions that you make, and ensure that you’re using learning and skilling to support the broader business aspirations.
- Do things in an accessible and inclusive way. Make sure that whatever you do is something that everybody can tap into, not just a certain section of the population.
- Provide rewards: When introduced right, rewards can really assist in building a learning culture. Rewards can include publicly recognizing a learner’s success or financial incentives.
- Encourage knowledge sharing: When employees are encouraged and rewarded for sharing knowledge, they will be more engaged in learning.
What can companies do to reinforce the culture of learning?
- Implement learning days: The ability for every single person to have a certain number of days across the year that they can just dedicate to learning can prove to be very valuable.
- Cultural transformation needs storytelling: Highlight the stories of the people and the impact that they’ve had in terms of the culture.
- Create a meaningful training program: Employees may need to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and when they are engaged on a higher level, it supports efforts to build a learning culture.
Digital learning can help workers improve their skills
One of the main career implications of the digital revolution has been the shift in demand for human expertise.
The pandemic has really accelerated the ability for companies and workers to operate digitally. The digital medium is great in terms of being inclusive and allowing many more people to be reached than ever before.
But it can also be difficult to translate real-world lessons and experience into the digital landscape. It has to be reimagined into a digital experience because people’s attention spans and how they learn can be very different.
Company leaders and employers can enhance the digital experience of employee learners by tying communication to the learners’ individual motivations, as well as modeling desired behaviors through active participation in digital courses.
These can include discussion boards, upskilling programs, etc. Virtual group projects can also drive engagement, connectivity, and application.
Some companies are already making learning an essential part of the job
A Bersin report said, “The single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization’s learning culture.”
Employers such as Google, American Express, and Bridgewater Associates have made learning an integral part of their talent management systems.
American Express measures the impact of learning interventions on pre- and post-individual and organizational change. The 62,800-employee company also looks at its employee pulse survey results to validate the impact of its learning strategy on employee retention and satisfaction.
“When employees are consistently learning, they are happy,” said David Clark, senior vice president and chief learning officer.
Companies that learn the fastest and adapt well to change perform the best over time.
There are benefits in creating a future-fit workforce
Some jobs are disappearing due to the increasing use of technology, automation, and AI. The positions that are emerging require quick thinking, creativity, and high social and emotional intelligence – making the ability to learn more invaluable.
Companies with quick learners are able to react quickly to disruptions, adapt to meet the demands of a changing business climate, and harness a wealth of ideas for new products, services and processes, according to SHRM.
Despite its benefits, only around 1 in 10 companies have a true learning culture, and only 20% of employees demonstrate effective learning behaviors.
Companies that effectively nurture their workforce’s desire to learn are at least 30% more likely to be market leaders in their industries.